Content is the very foundation of Inbound Marketing. The content on your website - whether it’s blogs, product pages or guides - all helps your organization to improve its search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and web authority.
Yet that doesn’t mean all of the content that you create needs to
be freely given away to your prospects.
In fact, the use of gated content across your company’s website is a fantastic way to drive visitor engagement and boost lead generation. Gated content is a way of making your prospects more interested in what you have to offer, while at the same time capturing their information for lead generation.
In this guide to gated content, The Brit Agency is going to take a look at what gated content actually is, how it differs from ungated content, what the pros and cons of gated content are, as well as a four-step guide to creating your own gated content that generates leads.
Let’s start with a quick look at what gated content actually is.
What is gated content?
Gated content is any online content that requires a user to fill out a form to gain access to. This type of content is hidden behind a CTA or pop-up, and is typically used by companies as a lead generation tool to help them gather data about their prospects.
Gated content can take many forms, but is generally used for longer and more informative (and useful) pieces of content, such as videos, white papers, ebooks, webinars, templates or demos.
The form itself might ask for simple information such as an email address to add them to a mailing list, or it could be more complex and ask them their specific challenges to help guide your marketing initiatives through buyer persona information and the buyer’s journey.
What’s the difference between gated and ungated content?
The difference between gated content and ungated content is fairly self explanatory.
Gated content is any material on your website that is hidden behind a CTA or pop-up, requiring the user to fill out a form before they can gain access to the content. Ungated content, on the other hand, can be accessed immediately by your prospects - with no exchange of information required.
Why gated content is important
When it comes to Inbound Marketing, the primary aim of gated content is lead generation. By creating content that is high-value enough for prospects to part with their contact information, marketers are able to generate new leads through gated content.
The pros of gated content:
- Increased lead generation
- Insights into customers and prospects
- Allows for email list segmentation and buyer persona form segmentation
- Leads to more product/service sales
With those benefits in mind, it's also important to understand some of the downsides of creating gated content - with the main one being that gated content does not improve the performance of your website and how it’s ranked by search engines.
The cons of gated content:
- No benefit to your SEO strategy
- No page views or traffic, since gated content is typically downloadable
- Forms may deter some early-stage, top-of-the funnel visitors from exploring your website
There is a big question in Inbound Marketing right now of “Gated Vs. Ungated content?” Some Inbound marketers believe content should absolutely not be gated to improve SEO initiatives and the user experience (since the entire premise of Inbound Marketing is to be helpful and useful), while others believe gated content is a crucial aspect of generating leads.
The answer really, is somewhere in between. Ungated content should be used to drive brand awareness and SEO, and gated content should be reserved for occasional pieces of content that provide your prospects’ with real value and that they are happy to exchange information for - helping your organization to generate new leads.
So, with that in mind, here’s our four-step guide to creating gated content that helps your business generate leads.
4 Step guide to generating leads through gated content
#1 - Create high-value content that appeals to your personas, in each stage of their buyer’s journey
In a recent blog we discussed the importance of content mapping, and how your organization can create content that links the challenges your buyer personas are facing with what they are looking for at each step in their buyer’s journey.
When creating gated content, you should think carefully about what type of media is best for each stage of the buyer’s journey. For example, someone in the awareness stage may want to read an industry-focused whitepaper, whereas a prospect in the decision stage may want a demo specifically of your product.
#2 - Build content that offers true value to your prospects
Gated content requires your audience to give up information in exchange for the content you are offering. They are only going to part ways with this data if the content you are offering is truly valuable to them.
Think about the information they are looking for or challenges they are trying to address in each stage of their buyer’s journey, and then create a content offering that is genuinely helpful and useful to them. You want to create a content offering that will improve their life, or help them solve their challenges, in some way.
#3 - Build a landing page
When offering gated content, it’s typical for websites to lead prospects to a landing page. Strong landing pages with an enticing headline, compelling content and an easy to fill form will help your brand capture leads.
#4 - Use the information you’ve gained for future segmented marketing
Once you have created your gated content and your landing page is capturing leads, you can use the information that your prospects have supplied through these forms to create targeted marketing campaigns moving forward.
Use the information to segment your prospects into the personas they fall under, and then target them with nurturing campaigns that focus on the specific challenges they are facing.
Want to learn more about gated content and how it can help your organization generate leads? Contact The Brit Agency today. Our Inbound Marketing team would be more than happy to answer your questions.